Summary: Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.
JESUS THE BETTER WAY: BETTER THAN OUR FAMILY PEDIGREE
HEBREWS 3:1 – 4:16
Big Idea: Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself (Hebrews 3:3).
HEBREWS 3:1 – 4:16 (NIV)
Heb 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.
Heb 3:2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.
Heb 3:3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.
Heb 3:4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.
Heb 3:5 Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future.
Heb 3:6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.
I read about a preacher whose daughter keeps a daily notebook. On one page she had drawn a picture of her father and written carefully his name and address. When asked why, she explained that she had been watching a movie about amnesia. And then she said, "If I ever forget who I am, I want everybody to know whom I belong to."
Belonging is very important. And knowing to whom we belong is even more important.
In Jewish legend the achievements of Moses were magnified far beyond the Biblical account. That would seem hard to do I know (he was a great man) but some accomplished it none-the-less. Our writer records quite an impressive resume for the man; he justifiably holds Moses in very very high regard. You can begin to see Moses’ embellished achievements in writings like Josephus and Philo’s “The Life of Moses.”
• Josephus enlarges on Moses’ wisdom and even ascribes to him great beauty and stature. He also makes Moses a mighty warrior and credits him with a skillful victory over the Ethiopians (Ant. 2.230 ff).
• Philo (“Life of Moses” 1.20ff) credits Moses with making cultural advances in arithmetic, geometry, poetry, music, philosophy, astrology.
• Others, like Eupolemus, credit him with creating the alphabet and graciously giving it to the Phoenicians who then gave it to the Greeks.
• And there are others who also ascribe great accomplishments to him; including Homer and Plato.
Think of the average funeral. Regardless of the life / lifestyle of the deceased we oftentimes nearly deify them. This tendency to “not speak ill of the dead” carries over into stories and myths of the person long after they are gone. That is what continued to happen for thousands of years after Moses’ life. Joshua also, to lesser degree, gets in on the hit parade in chapter 4. And what we discover, in both instances, is that Jesus is superior / better than they.
“Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself” (Hebrews 3:3).
We often explain personality and even character traits by the family tree. Have you heard sayings like:
• “We are what we are because of those who have gone before us.”
• “X” is just that way because she is a “Smith.”
• “X” is just that way because he is “Italian.”
Did you ever see the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding?” I am often entertained by how many people say “That’s my family!” Being from Oklahoma (and spending time in Miami, OK which is the HQ of 8 Indian tribes) gives me the opportunity to see the connection, roots and identity that native American’s have with their ancestry. It, like the Greek family in the film, runs very very deep and has great influence on the identity and even destiny of family members.
Now your family tree may not define you but it has very possibly been used to shape you. And, the truth is, there is something reassuring and stabilizing about knowing who we are and to whom we belong. I gives us … identity.
Identity was / is a big deal to the Jewish race. It plays a role in shaping their character and expectations about themselves. Like Native Americans, even the names they were given were intended to shape them.
And the Jewish nation had a lot to be proud of too. You see, the writer does not disparage their pedigree. Moses and Joshua were “good stock.” He doesn’t refute the embellishments. This is a common practice with this writer. At every turn, as he shows Jesus to be superior, he begins by showing the best the comparison has to offer. Unlike our common political tactics – the author does not tear down Moses in order to Jesus build up. Rather he sets Christ against the virtues of the Old Testament hero. Christ’s merits are all the more impressive in light of Moses’ greatness.